More than 90 per cent of employees say work-life balance would affect their decision to change careers, while those reporting the best work-life balance are in HR, according to a new report.

The Seek research shows that when it comes to work-life balance, employee expectations and priorities often vary.

Definitions of work-life balance given by respondents (a nationally representative sample of 18–69 year olds) highlighted four key themes:

  • flexibility to structure work hours and location;
  • work that doesn’t disrupt home life;
  • the ability to bank hours for extra time off; and
  • work without overtime.

The employees who rated their work-life balance most highly across all definitions worked in HR (71%), real estate and property (67%), and consulting and strategy (66%).

The most dissatisfied employees were those in call centre and customer service roles, with 19 per cent of respondents in this cohort ranking their work-life balance as either poor or terrible.

The report also found that more than one in two employees have changed jobs in search of better work-life balance during their career, with 70 per cent ultimately achieving it.

Seek Learning general manager Tony Barrett says the findings show there’s no one-size-fits-all way to achieve work-life balance, and “it is critical that employers understand employees’ perceptions of work-life balance, as it is an important catalyst in career change”.